February 2023

Chestatee Elementary School

A Letter From Dr. Tennies, Our Principal

Greetings from the T!

As I have grown older, it has become clear that challenges in life make us stronger.

On Christmas Eve, cozy in my pajamas, and heating hot chocolate at home, I received a call from the head of FCS facilities. I had hoped he was calling to wish us a happy holiday, but instead he shared news about a water pipe in the media center. Like so many other homes and businesses in our area the cold weather created a busted pipe. Luckily, this triggered our fire alarm and Fire Station 8 was quickly on the scene. They saved thousands of materials, technology, and books in their time inside the building.

As I walked into our school that night, I saw the challenge ahead of us. I was grateful for the fast response of our firefighters and facilities team, and I knew we’d come out stronger. Our team spent winter break clearing out the media center. FCS was quick to respond in ordering and replacing everything needed to open again. Mrs. Wiggins and our Pathways teachers came together with many other staff members in January. They worked tirelessly to set up a temporary space for classes and a temporary library so that checkouts could continue.

Stronger is exactly what we are going to be. Here’s how the media center will improve.

  • Mrs. Wiggins and a team of media specialists from our district have ordered $37,000 in new and improved books and series loved by students.

  • All carpet was removed, and a beautiful polished concrete flooring will replace the carpet.

  • Our circulation desk, which was difficult for children to see over, was removed and a new one will be installed.

Our media center will reopen again in a few more weeks. When it does, we plan to have a big celebration to showcase this new, improved area! Although this has been a challenge, we will come out stronger with our new improved area. Our media center will continue to be the heart of our school.

And once again….Together, We are Chestatee!


Dr. Polly Tennies


We Have So Many Congratulations to Give this Month...

Dr. Tennies was Named FCS Employee of the Month!

Mr. Tennies came to the school to help surprise Dr. Tennies on the news with this awesome award! We are so proud of her work here as Principal the past 12 years.
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We are So Proud of Our Young Author Winners from Each Grade Level

Kindergarten ~ Olivia W.

1st grade ~ Jackson R.

2nd grade ~ Myles C.

3rd Grade ~ Franklin K.

4th Grade ~ Emmalynn D.

5th grade ~ Lydia S.

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Mrs. Murray Received a Grant to Continue her Education in Counseling!

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The T is Such a Fun Place to Be!

Dr. Crews and the Staff from Inspirational Smiles Visited for Dental Health Month!

Pre-K, kindergarten and first grade students all learned about dental health and received goody bags. Thank you, Dr. Crews!
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Go Dawgs! We Love Our Spirit Days!

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Let it Snow in Car Line!

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Happy 100th Day of School!

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100th Days Smarter

Kindergarten Fun with "Soil"

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Students are Preparing for the Art Show with Mrs. Hubbard!

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Our Live to Give Club Did a Service Project.

Thank you for cleaning up our campus and playground areas!
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Staff Enjoyed a Chick-Fil-A Lunch.

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Getting Everyone Ready for the Snowflake Ball!

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The Snowflake Ball was a Big Deal Around Here! Thanks to Our PTO for a Magical Evening!

Snowflake Ball 2023

Important Reminders

  • Please remember to send in your child’s excuse within 5 days.
  • Families can send up to 10 notes from home for absences before doctor notes are required.
  • On email excuses to the teacher, it’s easy to add Ms. Stacey (Sholbrook@forsyth.k12.ga.us) to make sure she gets the excuse.
  • Any time you go to see the doctor, please ask for a school excuse. If you forget, contact the doctor and ask them to email or fax the excuse. Fax: 770-781-2281.
  • Georgia law requires the school to send attendance letters after 5 or more unexcused absences.
  • Any time you check your child in/ out on Checkmate, the absence will be unexcused. Please provide a medical excuse if you'd like the absence excused.

Calling All Kindergarten Students for 2023-24!

Kindergarten Registration

Save the Date for Our Kindergarten Night: May 18, 2023

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From FCS

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Visitors are Welcome for Lunch!

Please continue to signup. This ensures that we have enough tables and that the tables are clean.
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Thank You for Supporting the Huggers Fundraiser!

Our families have been so generous! We have made over $2000 in cash and checks for classroom materials. In addition, our profits from www.schoolstore.com have been amazing! We can't wait to surprise teachers this month!
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Another Congratulations is in Order!!!!

Congrats to our High Flyers for Being Problem Solvers!

You may be wondering what a High Flyer Ceremony is! Each month, we will recognize 2 students from each class who have done an amazing job exhibiting the Chestatee Way! Students will receive a special invitation for their families. We will meet in the cafeteria together. We love celebrating the positives in students! We have had these virtually the last two years and were so excited to invite families for this special celebration last month!

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We Have So Many Students Earning Positive Office Referrals and Lunch with Dr. T!

Students can be written up by their teacher for using their strategies, showing effort, having a great attitude or showing kindness. When a child receives a Positive Office Referral, they visit Dr. Tennies in the office, receive a prize, and get a picture on a special display. We are very proud of our students!
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Congratulations to our Staff Member of the Month for January- Kim Raner!

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We are proud to announce Kim Raner, as our January Staff Member of the Month!

Ms. Raner serves as the social worker for both Chestatee and East Forsyth High School. She works closely with students and families in need of resources.

Kim is known for her commitment to our families. In times of tragedy and hardship, she is the beacon of light getting resources and help for those in need. She works tirelessly to help others while being a terrific mother and wife to her own family. Kim is a kind, positive and grateful role model for us all at the T.

Kim and her husband, Jesse, have four children and live in our community. Their two oldest kids, Savannah and Weston, are Chestatee Eagles. We are so very thankful that she is part of our amazing Chestatee staff. Congratulations to our Kim Raner!

A big thank you to our PTO and Mathnasium of Coal Mountain for sponsoring our Chestatee Staff Member of the Month Program!

Teacher and Staff Member of the Month Nominations

Do you want to recognize and celebrate the exemplary teaching and contributions by Chestatee Elementary teachers and staff? Click here to write a nomination.

What's Coming up at the T?

Important Dates this Month

February 1-24- Kids Heart Challenge in PE

February 17-21 Mid-Winter Break

February 21- Professional Development Day/ Student Holiday

March 7- Science Night

March 9- Early Release for Spring Conferences

March 10- Student Holiday

March 20-31- Virtual Art Show

The PE department will be participating in the Kids Heart Challenge from February 1st through February 24th and collecting on-line donations for the American Heart Association. Click the link to access the Kids Heart Challenge website www.heart.org/kidsheartchallenge . Participation is always optional.

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Thank You to All for Making the Snowflake Ball a Night to Remember!

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Our PTO is a Great Way to Get Involved!

Our PTO board members raise money to help teachers and our school.

You can support our PTO through our fundraisers, Spirit Nights, events, and spirit wear.

There are no membership dues this year.

Contact our PTO at chestateeelementarypto@yahoo.com any time!

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A Note from Nurse Kristen

Dear Families,

As we head into winter:

The main reasons for keeping your child at home are as follows:

  • If he/she is too sick to be comfortable at school
  • If he/she will spread a contagious illness/disease to another child

Remember: Students must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications before returning to school. Students must also be vomiting and diarrhea free for 24 hours before returning to school.

Let me know as you have questions,

Nurse Kristen

Ext. 722151

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Our Communi-T-y is the BEST!

Thanks to Jalynn Barr from Community Cup!

Jalynn donated a coffee bar to our staff which made for a delicious treat with breakfast goodies! We appreciate Jalynn and Community Cup so much!
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Thanks to Nothing Bundt Cake in Gainesville for "Bundting Us!"

They dropped several cakes for our staff! We enjoyed them with our coffee bars and other breakfast goodies! Everyone was thrilled!
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What Would We Do Without Our Firefighters at Station 8?

When a pipe froze in the media center over winter break, they were quick to get our water turned off saving thousands of dollars of technology, books, and materials. They also moved books and shelves out of the media center before leaving that night. Thank you, Heroes!
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The Apesos Family Delivered Notes to Thank Station 8 Also!

Our Friends at Mathnasium Actively Support the T!

We Loved Having Mathnasium Staff at the Dance to Help Us!

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One East Community Corner!

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Community Corner and Resources

Great opportunity with Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Youth Scholarship...

Our Youth Scholarship provides funding for families that cannot afford the participation fees for our recreation, athletic and camp programs.

Children ages 17 or younger are eligible to apply for this scholarship. They must be county residents and must provide a completed application with supporting documents. You can find the application and more information here:


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Volunteer Group of the Month: PTO Volunteers at Events

When we have events, it's all hands on deck! The Snowflake Ball was a great example of that. And it was a magical evening because we had so many great volunteers setting up, working the dance, and cleaning up. Amazing! Thanks to all who made this a very special night for our gals! Just like the Eagles' Rock stated, "Your kindness beautified everything!" We'll have more sign-ups go out this year for other events!
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Thanks to Stephanie Schroeder for the Beautiful Rock Decorated for the Snowflake Ball!

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Do You Have 30 Minutes a Week to Change a Child's Life? Be a Mentor!

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Watchdog Dads

Calling all male role models! Watchdog Dads are welcome at the T!

There are two ways to help:

#1- Wear a WD shirt (we have one to borrow if needed), and help on car line by smiling, greeting kids, and helping them get out of the car.

Carline Signup

#2-Wear a WD shirt and spend the day with us! You'll visit the carline, the school news, your child's class, Pathways classes, lunch and recess. You'll be busy and tired at the end of the day!

WD Signup for the Day

Click here for all the information!

Questions? Contact Meg Killingsworth

770-887-2341 ext. 723002

Email Meg

A Few Words From our Family Engagement Coordinator

Book Club- You're Invited!

Happy February, Families! I hope you find time to do things you love this month! One of my favorite pastimes is reading. Fiction and love stories are always at the top of my list. Colleen Hoover has become a favorite. Several of our teachers read and pass around all her books. Reading is an escape for me. I love getting lost in the story and can’t wait to turn each page to find out what happens next.

You probably have also noticed that I adore my family. I love being a mom. And although we have our challenges and being a mom is THE HARDEST job I’ve ever had, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

So this month, I’m embarking on a new adventure! I’m mixing one of my loves- being a parent with another love- reading. And together with several of our teacher leaders, we are embarking on a new idea of a book club for parents.

Brianna Hundt, our Quality Work Facilitator, who is a Chestatee mother and also works with parents, and I chose a book that we were interested in that might help us to be better parents.

If you’ve been interested in joining a book club on parenting, you are invited to join us! We’ll meet in person in the Family Resource Room 9:30-10:30 AM on Wednesdays beginning February 22. For those of you who work or have other obligations during the days, we will offer a night session on Mondays at 7:00-8:00 PM on Microsoft Teams. This will begin Monday, February 27th. You could choose what works best for you- morning or evening.

Here’s the link for more information about our first book. Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids https://a.co/d/6mdNsO4 We have several copies for checkout in the Family Resource Room or you can purchase your own for about $12.

Won’t you embark on this adventure? Both our teacher leaders and I would love for you to join us! Let me know if you’re interested!

mkillingsworth@forsyth.k12.ga.us or 770-887-2341 ext. 723002

See you soon!


Meg Killingsworth

Family Engagement Coordinator

770-887-2341 ext. 723002


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Are You Interested in Joining a Book Club?

Starting this month, we will have 2 options for a book club led by Meg and several teacher leaders.

Wednesdays 9:30-10:30 AM in the Family Resource Room or

Monday nights at 7:00 PM on Microsoft Teams.

Here’s the link for more information about our first book. Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids https://a.co/d/6mdNsO4 You can purchase your own or check one out from our Family Resource Room.

We’d love to have you! Contact Meg if interested! mkillingsworth@forsyth.k12.ga.us

Or 770-887-2341 ext. 723002

Our Staff Loves Partnering with Our Families!

Teachers worked hard to prepare for our Academic Parent Teacher Team meetings. They showed data of classroom work and ways to help at home. Thank you, Teachers!
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Virtual APTT Meetings were a Success!

Thanks to our staff for presenting virtually and so many families for making the meeting! We appreciate our partnerships at the T!
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Don't Forget....

Box Tops/ Soup Labels

We collect Box Tops to raise money for our school.

The procedure will be changing in the near future (we will keep you posted!)

For now, keep filling out your Box Top Sheets and turn them in to Ms. Donna in the front office.

Kroger and Publix will donate money too...

If you ask to connect your Kroger Plus card to Chestatee Elementary, they will donate a certain percentage of the profits to our school. You can find out more about how to do this if you CLICK HERE.

Publix Partners with Chestatee also. You only need to put your phone number in as you checkout. Publix will donate a certain percentage of their profits to Chestatee from your purchase!

We love our Partners in Education!